Christmas in Oxford – Top 10 things to do!
1 – Snow White (and other tales from the Brothers Grimm)
Friday 4th December – Saturday 9th January
North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Oxford OX2 7NN
This year’s Christmas show from the amazing Creation Theatre is the splendid Snow White and Other Tales from the Brothers Grimm.
Written and directed by Gari Jones, there’s lots of typical Creation inventiveness and wit in the script and it’s delivered with surgical timing and tons of enthusiasm by the excessively talented cast of six. Playing multiple roles and energetically singing and dancing, they lead us through the Snow White narrative with yet more stories enfolded within like a matryoshka doll. So, Snow White tells the seven dwarves about Hansel and Gretel, and that yarn has within it the tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the hungry wolf. Her wicked stepmother tries to murder Snow White (attempting death by corset), but the dwarves revive her and are rewarded with further stories. This cycle repeats as each further assassination attempt fails, the stepmother trying desperately to be her magic mirror’s number one pick as the “fairest of them all.”
A nice touch, and typical Creation, is to have four youngsters from Creation’s Drama Club as the Youth Chorus. They take turns in three teams; we had Team A: Leila, Matilda, Sam and Siana, and they were very professional in their performances. I imagine that members of the audience of the same ages would have loved to be in their well-crafted costume shoes.
2 – A Footprints Christmas Tour!
Join us for a festive wonder around the most beautiful city in the world! Mince pies in the Covered Market; Mulled Wine in the old Turf Tavern and a nice hot chocolate by the fire at The Bear!
Hear the tale of Jesus College’s annual ‘Birthday Phone Call’, see the world famous Bridge of Sighs and walk the very streets that Tolkien, Lewis and Carroll once roamed.
Kings and Queens have been spending their Christmas’ in Oxford since 1205, when King John almost bankrupted the Mayor by spending £100 on 42 tuns of wine (that’s about 50,000 bottles)!
3 – Cinderella
Saturday 5th December
Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2LW
What can we expect from a panto this year after 12 months of complete absurdity in the real world? The answer is a jolly good laugh and a show that actually represents Great Britain today: colourful, creative, crazy, and unapologetically amused by its own ridiculousness. Oh, and there’s a villain called Donaldina Trumpetta. Genius. (Director Steve Marmion confesses he chose the name back in February, before the entire world went mad.)
Panto is a great first-time theatre experience for kids. You don’t have to worry about them wriggling and making a noise – they’re supposed to give as good as they get – and at some point sweets are going to come flying down from the heavens. Cinderella adds to this child-charming cocktail by ensuring every last second of the show is charged with something that will make you either laugh, sing or raise a ‘did they really just say THAT’ eyebrow (there’s some fabulous filth in there, for the ‘grown ups’).
4 – Alice in Wonderland
Monday 21st November – Sunday 1st January
The Watermill Theatre, Newbury
Danger, violence, music and dance, and repeated explosive farting
The temptation with fairy tales is to ramp up the dark. This is especially so when the script is written by the Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, whose theatre career has tackled challenging subjects, including his smash-hit musical London Roadabout the Ipswich murders.
Director Bill Buckhurst took many of those elements: danger, violence, music and dance and in a tip to children in the audience, repeated explosive farting. It was an odd combination which held the Saturday night audience at the enchanting Watermill Theatre at Bagnor enthralled – and some, undoubtedly appalled.
6 – Christmas at Blenheim
Wednesday 13th December – Monday 1st January (ex. December 25th)
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxford OX20 1PS
Formal Gardens will light up once again for an unforgettable after-dark festive trail of lights.
7 – Magdalen Christmas Flea Market
Saturday 2nd December
The Magdalen Arms, 243 Iffley Road, Oxford OX4 1SJ
Retro, reclaimed bric-a-brac, vintage and second hand goods and furniture. Join us for coffee, breakfast baps and lunch at the pub. You might find the perfect Christmas gift here!0